Tag: Ashwin

Tech Update – 2018

Ahhh boxing day. The real Christmas for the frugal/bargain seekers. This year, I was planning on only buying a few things. Mainly a new PC case, a new monitor and maybe a mouse or games if they’re on special. So on the 25th, I hopped on to PB Tech’s website and started browsing cases.

I found the Phanteks P300 with RGB support (trust me RGB = speed). I threw some extra cables into the order and I was done. The case arrived a few days later and I began on moving my PC from my old case to the new one.

All parts were moved in, I flicked the power on and… nothing. I played around with parts and fittings for next few hours. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I fished out my original motherboard from 8 years ago and tested my power supply. That worked. Now for the latest motherboard. I remember I took the CPU fan off for cleaning… I checked that and found out that two of the pins that secure it to the motherboard don’t sit on the motherboard at all.

I spent the next hour or so trying to figure out how this stupid push clip thing works. No dice. I put that down to the cause of no power on and decided to upgrade my whole system. So off to PB Tech to buy a new system. Since this would last me a long time, I went with the option of a Ryzen 5, new motherboard and 16GB of RAM. I already had a Radeon 560 from last year so that would last for a while.

I installed all the parts and it all worked first time. Some small adjustments were made and then it was good to go. I can now play Overwatch in slightly better quality. (I’ll clean up the wiring when I get more time/not so lazy).

So after that I thought that was it. I then began to notice my Xperia Z5 was overheating and having battery drain issues. I knew about the Google Play Services battery drain bug but this was worse. I was going down 50% overnight. This phone has run great for 3 years but it’s finally showing its age. I then decided to buy a new phone. (Editor’s note: Wow this guy)

I found it sad that I have to search for phones based on whether the manufacturer kept the headphone jack. I’m still a strong believer in using the various wired headphones I have laying around and I wasn’t going to buy 20 dongles just to get through my day. So after some research, I settled on the OnePlus 5T. It’s got an almost stock Android experience and lots of nice features. I didn’t know I needed gesture control i my life until I had it. Setting ‘O’ (or a circle) as Pokemon Go, enabling the music controls and swiping the fingerprint reader for reading notifications. The battery is good and the in-box quick charger makes life easy.

So I’m running two phones now. I decided to start an alternate account on Pokemon Go and use my Z5 as a spare device to help with Pogo (Pokemon Go) raids.

So you’re thinking now, that’s not too much. I also stopped by MightyApe’s site and got a Switch Pro Controller, Pokken and some RGB strips for the new PC. I also went on to AliExpress and bought a new case, a few more cables and the new Xiaomi power bank with quick charge support.

 

So there was conclusion to an expensive holiday. I’m happy with my purchases because I always wanted to buy these items but the cost of them all has set me back a bit. Now hopefully all these purchases last me as long as their predecessors have.

 

 

Edit: Post post update. As the header image I got some Custom Pokemon Key-caps.

Quick Reviews – December

It’s December. It’s the Christmas period. So there’s lots of stuff going on.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Before: It’s Star Wars. There’s lots of nostalgic hype going into this.

After: I loved it. It’s almost my top movie of the year. The story was good and the visuals were just gorgeous. The fight scenes were brilliant as well.

 

Bright (Netflix)

Before: A Netflix movie about Orcs in our world with Will Smith. Sounds good to me.

After: It was a pretty simple movie and wasn’t too bad but it also didn’t amaze me. It must have been a good year for movies if people are slating this as the worst.

 

Pokken Tournament DX (Switch)

Before: I dub thee Pokemon Tekken. This is a Pokemon fighting game. It’s almost what everyone has wanted for years.

After: I’m one of the few people who play fighting games as a single player for the fun of learning combos and moves and I like this game. It’s not too hard to get into and there is a story mode of sorts. I will definitely be bringing this along to my next gathering and playing it with my friends.

 

Overwatch – Moira

Before: A new hero. It had better be a healer.

After: OMG. This character is awesome. First couple of comp games and I have both pixel and cute sprays. She’s very easy to manage for both healing and damage and can also help the team out. The common flankers of Genji and Roadhog aren’t a big issue now because of Moira’s warp ability.

 

 

December wasn’t too big of a month in terms of new movies or games for me. Of course I spent a lot of time on Overwatch and Hearthstone. I finally hit gold rank and I’m probably going to spend rest of the season working to stay in gold. Hearthstone is very casual. I’m trying to figure out the right plays I need to make to beat the new dungeon bosses. I also built a new PC but I’ll save that for another post.

Now that the holiday season is coming to a close, I can start getting back into the normal flow of things.

 

 

 

 

Quick reviews – November

So I got this idea from a friend (thanks Ku-Ku). Quick easy movie review/opinions. I’m still trying to work out the format but I’m going to post a few now and see how this goes. To expand on the ideas, I’m going to include games and TV shows as well.

 

I usually watch a new movie every week. My taste in movies is pretty generic. I love my action, comedy and especially my anime. Nowadays I rarely get the chance to watch movies at home, usually go a movie on Saturday night catch up with friends.

With that I was thinking of making monthly post of movies I’ve watched and updating the list before and after the movie.

With games and shows, I’ll try follow a similar pattern.

I’ll try keep these as spoiler free as I can.

So let’s try this.

 

Justice league

Before: DC’s big jump into the cinematic universe. I still dislike the fact that the cinematic universe doesn’t link into the successful TV universe which is running great at this time.

After: CGI still irritates me. You could tell some scenes were forced and didn’t fit in that well. Fight scenes and nods to the comics and other characters were very nice.

 

Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Before: So much community hype. I loved Zelda since I first played Majora’s Mask on the N64. Nostalgia will always play a huge factor with the series for me.

After: Amazing. Truly a beautiful game. So much to do. It’s been a month and a bit but I still have so much to do in the game. This will be my game of the year for 2017.

 

Pokemon – Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Before: It’s just going to be Sun and Moon 2?

After: I’ve played first half of Ultra Sun. Other than small nicer changes it feels like the same game. I’m very interested to see how they change up the after-game.

Punisher Season 1

Before: Punisher killed it in Season 2 of Daredevil. Hopefully he keeps on murdering.

After: DAMN. So much blood and brutality. I loved it. The action was awesome and very good use of the flashback and PTSD.

Overwatch: Season 6 Flexing

I’d thought I’d give you guys a small update on my Overwatch status.

For the latest season of Overwatch I have begun to flex out to different heroes. No it’s not me showing my muscles (biceps are in progress) to the team via video. It’s where instead of insta-locking the hero I want (i.e. Lucio or Zenyetta) I let the team now I will help fill the gaps. Usually in the solo queue I’m usually healer or tank.

Image result for overwatch support

So why the change?

Like many of the one tricks and other Overwatch players, I was beginning to feel the exhaustion of playing the same character over and over. DSPStanky stopped playing Overwatch for that reason. He felt his time in that world was over. He continues to stream games he wants and is happier now. I took a week of break after Season 5 and did some arcade and quick play. Not playing seriously and having fun really opened my eyes.

I started playing around with DPS characters and having more fun. I decided after that week I was going to start playing as a flex player on Overwatch. Within that week I learnt how to play each tank. I had a decent grasp on the supports so that was fine. Even when Season 6 started, I would go into quick play and warm up using DPS or Tank. This helped me refine my skills with Reinhard, Zarya, Roadhog, Doomfist, Pharah, Mei and Junkrat.

Image result for overwatch tanks

The Junkrat buffs sold me as I was also a player that relied on prediction and not just aim. With Junkrat I could easily control the point when I was outnumbered. Remember Pharah being a pesky counter to Junkrat? Not anymore with the 2 bomb system. Simply use one to boost in the air and another to bomb to smack her right in the face.

So from now on I’m try learn the basics of each character. I’ll do this slowly and not instantly. Especially with new characters. To keep the game fresh and challenging I’ll switch to what I feel like, but of course I’ll keep that in mind for team composition because I want to win.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Ah one of my biggest nerdy obsessions.

Pokemon

Pokemon was probably one of the first anime I vividly remember watching. It was always on after school at 4pm. Right before Dragon Ball Z and other amazing shows that enticed a child’s mind.  I never had pets growing up so Pokemon was a great way for me to channel my imagination and pretend.

Image result for pokemon adult meme

To this day, I’m still playing the Pokemon games. I play Pokemon Go every day but that’s for levelling efforts (and gym control). I play the main games every time they come out and I’m attempting to complete my collection of the games.

Yes I know the games are designed for children, and if you read my other post (Adults and kids cartoons) you know a little on why I play. Ultimately the charm of the games keeps me here. Each game is a new adventure and new ways of solving puzzles. Then there’s the competitive online side where for the most of the time it’s a game of outsmarting your opponents.

Image result for pokemon mew meme

There’s also the meme side of the game which the game creators have adopted. With X and Y there was a depth of hidden stories (creepy ghost girl), new in-game mechanics for breeding (easier to breed higher IV pokemon) and the online presence of Pokemon got stronger. They finally gave the chance for the elusive Pokemon like Mew, Celebii which were really hard to get outside of the games or never released worldwide. X and Y gave them out as Mystery Gifts which could be downloaded to each current game (X, Y, Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby).

I could keep going but with 20 years of content and still going strong this would have to be multiple post. With Pokemon being a huge part of my life, I don’t think I’ll easily forget about the magic it captures or how it helped me to increase my reading abilities. Just look at the impact Pokemon Go had. It was a trending app and there’s still several hundreds of people in Auckland alone who are playing. I hope it stays a strong part of my life and the franchise keeps igniting the imaginations of others.

 

Success

After last week’s failure post it only makes sense to do one on success.

 happy reactions win yay winning GIF

So if failure is the act of not succeeding in your goals, that would imply succeeding is the act of completing your goal.

As I said in the last post, succeeding in your goals is all about learning about what to do and how to do it.

I’ve found it’s easier to make mini goals that are along the way to my big goal. For instance if I wanted to get fitter I would set a big goal like run a marathon. Next I would make smaller goals like run half or quarter marathon. To go even further I would set smaller goals of increasing speed or distance that I can cover in x amount of time.

But let’s keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. There will lots of trail and error on your path to success. Remember we must learn from our mistakes. All the smaller goals help us in showing ourselves that we’re on the path to success. We can gain small comfort from knowing that we’re achieving what we’ve set out to do.

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So remember both success and failure are options. It’s your choice as to what the final outcome becomes. The satisfaction of success or the struggles of failure. Just keep in mind that once you reach one of those points there is nothing stopping you setting a new goal and setting out a path to achieve that goal.

Failure

Failure is never an option

That’s a common line we’ve all heard in multiple places. But what if I told you it is.

 

Failure

To put it simply failure is the opposite of success. But what is success? Success is when a goal is achieved. Often failure is associated with negativity in the regard that you didn’t succeed in your task. If we wanted to go deeper then we could include partial success and partial failure, but let’s leave that out for now.

Of course its natural human instinct to strive for success. Remember back in primary school where you would get a new gold star next to your name every time you did something good, that satisfaction of something small like that. Compare that to the something like losing a friendly sports game. They’re complete opposites in terms of feelings. But what about when failure is desired?

The most simple case, that I can think of failure being wanted is, HIIT Training (High Intensity Interval Training). My gym routine now consists of a HIIT circuit which involves me doing exercise till fail. The point of failure is usually my body’s limit of that rep. At this point I always want to fail at least at my last record or set a new personal record.

But what about other cases of wanting failure?

I’ve always looked at life like so: if you don’t make the mistakes then you wont learn from them. Just look at it this way: there are 2 paths, one to success one to failure. There is nothing stopping you from walking up one path, getting to a point along and deciding to turn around and go the other way. Or maybe one path connects to the other in some weird way.

So don’t be afraid to fail. Always keep in mind that there’s always another path. You never know when that path you thought was wrong could actually be the right path. Remember to always keep on learning from mistakes. In the wise words of the mighty Shia “DO IT”.

GQ inspiration motivation shia labeouf motivational GIF

 

 

Wrestling is real.

Every time the topic of wrestling comes up, there’s always the common comment of “But wrestling is fake”. Yes people know its fake. But as with any other source of entertainment we watch it because it’s entertainment. It doesn’t matter if the event has happened in real life. Many people care more about being entertained.

What’s real and what’s scripted?

The main argument has always been that WWE and many other wrestling shows are scripted. But what portion of it is real?

I’ve always admired the fact that even if you know the script, there’s still physical work to put in. As wrestlers are developing their careers, they have to develop their own character, in/out ring styles, move-sets and put their own physical abilities to the test. Wrestlers need to be take a fall/hit as well safely dish them out. Safety is key in the business. If you’re about to pick up a person and throw them down on the mat you need to do in a way to that makes it look like they’re hurt but not seriously hurt.

Keeping in mind wrestlers do shows every week and PPV shows once a month on top of normal shows. In between the main events they have to train, learn scripts, develop their own character further and so much more.

John Cena himself holds the record for most Make-A-Wish wishes granted. He also makes appearances in movies, TV shows. At this time he’s probably the flagship wrestler for WWE. Where the wrestlers do their own work in terms of character development and training etc. The shows themselves have their own writing team. These teams will craft out the story lines for the whole business. The scripting works around characters in play, situations and the current affairs. There is a lot of crossover between wrestling characters and the scripting which makes it very important for good entertainment.

Characters

Saturday Night Live snl saturday night live promo season 42 GIF

So most of the human population have heard about John Cena (but you cant see him). There are many other characters. Their skills all vary depending on mic skills, character design and physical abilities.

The King of strong style, the artist – Shinsuke Nakamura. One of the most hyped wrestlers during his developmental phase. His mic skills are low but his in ring ability and character design are top notch. Just look at the video above he has the whole crowd singing along with his theme song. His first entrance into the WWE ring had one of the largest pops (rapid audience appreciation increase) and even as the song ends the audience keeps singing. His wrestling style has him working main events in the show and strong hype flowing into his popularity.

WWE sports wwe 2016 wrestling GIF

The phenomenal one – A.J. Styles. Dubbed the best wrestler of this current generation. He has amazing ability. His match with John Cena this year was possibly one of the best matches of the year. The story was solid and the match showed what the two giants of wrestling could do and displayed some amazing feats. A.J. probably has the best in-ring ability. His mic skills are good and his character is simple but good. Fans are waiting for the dream match of Shinsuke versus A.J. because they know both wrestlers will put on their best show. With his pre-WWE hype training going full steam. He’s only started and I’m certain he’ll have many great matches to come.

There’s so many more wrestlers I can go into. Randy Orton and his infamous RKO, The Rock and Stone Cold’s amazing promos but let’s go for the lesser known.

 

Here are the Usos – heel tag team champions. They refreshed their characters after the brand split and are now on fire. But what did they change? Their wrestling style is more aggressive but that’s what a heel character has to do. They refreshed their promo style and are now playing perfectly into their heel characters. As a heel your character needs to make the audience hate you but in this case they feud against the face of the story which automatically makes them somewhat hated. But with aggressive strong promos like this, they earn the crowd’s respect. They are still treated as the heels but they aren’t booed at (at least not all the time). They are currently on Smackdown where the rivalries are more intense and the crowd pops are amazing. Constant chants for “THIS.IS.AWESOME” can be heard when a great match is being displayed.


(Best WWE skit )

So as you can see here’s my take on whats real in wrestling. It’s just another form of entertainment. Yes it’s scripted, but i’ts scripted for people’s entertainment. Wrestling has changed over the years. It’s become more adoptive of the physical entertainment but it retains the fact that people are watching this for entertainment. I will always enjoy a good story, admire the skills of athletes and be impressed by the promo and mic skills that wrestlers have.

In the groove

Lets break it down!!!

Music. The art form of conveying a story/message in a rhythmic manner.

Ever since I got my first MP3 player back in high-school I’ve been addicted to music. One of the earliest artists I remember liking a lot was Linkin Park. This was during a stage of just entering my teenage years and of course being that edgy teen, Linkin Park really spoke to me. I’ve always seen music as its origin – a form of story telling. Music doesn’t need words to communicate its message. So let’s take a look into my musical taste.

 

Genre

Run The Jewels run the jewels rtj rtj3 glastonbury festival 2017 GIF

Through high-school there was this strange concept of “people should only like one genre of music”. I found this weird because I liked music from most popular genre at that time. It’s probably Linkin Park that sparked my enthusiasm for both rock and rap, either together or individually. So my choice of genre is never set on one. My musical choice for the time is usually set on my mood at the time.

If I’m going to the gym, driving or just in a high energy state I usually start with some rap or rock. My go-to at this stage is currently Run The Jewels.

sds

I love their latest album Run the Jewels 3. So much energy on a single album. The album is also nicely designed. As each song ends it smoothly flows into the next song on the album. There have been countless times where I have looped through the album a few times before realising it.

 childish gambino GIF

Then for the other days of just chilling and having a calm day, it’s usually a mix of EDM, Rock, Hip Hop or just whatever.

Mr Suicide Sheep is my go to for EDM track I have yet to discover. Quite often I find myself just scouring Youtube videos’ comment sections for the title of a song that sounded just right for the video. This song, I actually discovered while DSPStanky was streaming and it was on his ‘Get Hype’ playlist. These tracks aren’t as chill as other songs. There’s also barely any lyrics to the song. But with these songs I can feel the energy of it. It triggers my imagination and my thoughts.

 

Musical Preferences

 music video kendrick lamar humble GIF

I tend to avoid Top 40 hits. A large majority of the time I feel its full of too many Pop songs. Yes they’re catchy but they easily get overplayed and the songs slowly lose their hype and energy. There are some songs which I’m glad are there, i.e. Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE. In fact I barely listen to the radio. I use my phone and my driving playlist. I usually find new music via the Internet. Most of that will be from the New Release section on Google Play. As I said above, I will use YouTube videos. Most of those videos are ones like ‘Overwatch highlights of the week’. Even watching twitch/stream highlights I will pause the video and try figure out the song that was lightly playing the background. So yes I do have some preference on music but my preference is based on the mood of the song being presented.

So as you can see above my music taste relies on my mood and the state of mind I’m in. I don’t rely on the radio for my entertainment. I have a driving playlist with 600+ songs. I usually throw that on random and away I go. The playlist has a multitude of songs that aren’t hugely popular but generally those are from artists that many people haven’t heard about or they’re an artist who is just starting out. My recommendation – go on to Soundcloud, Youtube or any platform where there are less heard of artists. Click on any of the suggested videos. Don’t limit yourself to one genre or type. Go out  and explore. There are millions and millions of different tracks out there and each one is unique in its own way.

My Soundcloud likes

e-Sports

Let’s talk about one of my current passions – gaming and the world of e-Sports. Let’s see if I can explain the world of e-Sports to outsiders.

Professional gaming is a thing?

Oh yes it is and it’s a very lucrative business. But of course, to make money, you have to be really good at it to get anywhere. We’re finally in 2017 and eSports is huge. ESPN streams tournaments, prize pools go into the millions and that’s just for one event. Not only are the prize pools generating money but there’s branding, sponsorship, and publicity. Alongside this we have streamers from YouTube and Twitch popularising the glam of being a professional gamer. These streams are watched by millions around the world everyday. With the wide variety of games and streamers, viewers can hardly be disappointed in terms of content.

 

(I wish this was my setup. Mines way more ghetto)

What it takes to be a streamer/professional gamer

Anyone can be a gamer. Gaming isn’t reserved just for the nerd and geeks. Just like the world of sport, gaming relies on having a certain skill set to be able to play on a whole another level. Basic things from reaction time, strategy and hand eye coordination are just the start. Take Overwatch for example. To be highly successful, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Professional Overwatch players will keep track of enemy team ults, where each player is positioned and how many hits you can take, to name a few. There’s a huge multitude of factors that all come into play and players have to keep track of as much of that information as they can. Of course every game is different with different genres, play styles and strategies. What could happen is endless.

As with any skill set, to get better at it- practice makes perfect. Or closer to perfect. With the rise in streaming, gamers can now make a profession in streaming when tournaments aren’t on. Most tournaments take place once a year but that might be for a single tournament. There will be multiple tournaments during the year and there may be other events which the streamer can join. But during the off time what should they do? Train of course. So why not kill two birds with one stone. They can play their game of choice, stream it as entertainment for their viewers and make some more money out of it.

I want to be a pro but don’t I need the gear?

Yes and no. Everyone starts from somewhere. Start from the basics. Learn your game sense and practice your skills. Work your way up. As you grow as a streamer you’ll figure out a way to make it. Once you figure out a streaming timetable and a financial situation, you can start expanding on gear. To make the right choice in gaming gear isn’t that hard either. Start researching the gear you want. You could be like me and get an average mouse and keyboard but mine has awesome RGB effect which I love (TASTE THE RAINBOW). Or focus on products with proper mouse sensitivity. The right feeling keyboard, the decent graphics card, the list goes on.

Where do I start?

Got a game you love? Start by finding streams of that game. See what the scene is for that game. See a gap? Take it. Start streaming in your spare time. If that works out, let’s see if we can increase stream times and viewers. Now the hard part – train your skills.

As you can see the world of e-Sports is massive already and there is a lot of room for it to expand and grow. It’s a lucrative business and it’s loved by millions. It doesn’t matter where you start but it’s a sport that anyone can join. You don’t have to be a highly skilled player to join casually. Even disabilities won’t stop a person because there is always a way. One of the top 500 players in Overwatch is colourblind but Overwatch has accessibility options for the colourblind.  I’ve even seen a one handed gamer use his shoulder to prop up a controller and play with one hand.

The world of e-Sports is massive. There are a multitude of areas to go into and it’s freely available to anyone. The world of e-Sports is filled with many different people and there is a niche which everyone can fit into. Gaming has become so popular that it’s not just reserved for the nerds and kids. The market has grown and expanded to many platforms and styles. So if a profession in gaming has piqued your interest, start learning what the pro scene is like and start training the skills that you need. Also do some research on the smaller skills like hand position, mouse sensitivity, basic game sense like having shadows turned on, using a headset to hear enemy movements and what direction they’re coming from. To finish off let’s quote my favourite game at the moment – “The world could always use more heroes” (It ain’t easy being cheesy).